Differences Among The Apostles

Q. We place so much authority on the apostles’ teachings, because they were personally taught by Christ Himself. I understand that even the apostles are human and can make mistakes, but it seems that because some of them had even written part of the Bible which we hold to be error-free, their theological tenets should also be free of error. Yet in the NT, there are instances where even after the apostles are commissioned by the Holy Spirit, there are differences in the basic theology they held. To the point where the apostle Paul publicly challenged the apostle Peter (Gal. 2:11-21), telling him he stood condemned.

How can there be such a serious difference in basic beliefs among the apostles…those personally taught by Jesus and led by the Holy Spirit?

A. When it comes to differences among the Apostles I don’t believe there were any, at least in terms of belief. Paul took Peter to task on a matter of practice, not on a matter of theology. It was similar to, although much less critical than, his denial of Jesus.

Peter hadn’t stopped believing that Jesus was the Messiah, but out of fear for his own life he denied knowing Him. Likewise Peter hadn’t changed his views on the freedom afforded us by the gospel, but out of fear of being condemned by the Jews, he reverted to his old eating practices in their presence. Paul criticized him for not having the courage of his convictions, not for a difference in their theology.

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